Official photographs reveal picture-postcard images: blue skies, azure waters, white beaches, green hills dotted with expansive estates. A golf course, naturally. A red-tile-roofed village hugs the sea. Yachts bob in the harbor. A pristine airstrip barely intrudes. Not that residents ever leave. This is the Isle of Tyrants.

The island’s core residents live in enviable luxury. Every spacious villa includes a swimming pool, tennis court, putting green and indoor bowling alley along with leading-edge satellite TV. Security personnel discretely patrol manicured grounds. All are vetted by the Global Commission on Retired World Leaders (GCRWL). So are the cooks, maids, chauffeurs and other residence staff—as well as the townspeople who work in the gourmet supermarket, connoisseur wine store, Michelin-starred restaurant, health club and elegant shops. Residents shop a lot.

Vladimir Putin calls the Isle of Tyrants home. So does Bashar al-Assad. Their compatriots are former presidents, kings, rogue generals, drug lords and an ayatollah. Even a former caliph. Some live with family members. Others host thoroughly screened guests—young women of striking beauty and worldliness. A few young gentlemen as well. Nothing is too good for the island’s residents. They, after all, have been good to the world.

Of course, no one celebrates the crimes for which they are responsible—murder, kidnapping, torture and looting national treasuries among them. Rather, they are recognized for voluntarily exiting their countries. Putin speaks frankly. “Before the Isle of Tyrants, I could never consider leaving the Kremlin. I was virtually president of Russia for life… not by choice but by necessity.”

Each resident faced the same quandary. With so much blood on his hands and so much purloined wealth—the average portfolio reaches well into the billions—ordinary retirement seemed impossible. A tyrant’s leaving office and staying in his home country risked prosecution by the new government followed inevitably by life in a cell or, more likely, a gruesome death. Fleeing to someplace like Switzerland or Luxembourg posed the specter of a one-way journey to the International Criminal Court or a revenge-seeker’s bullet.

The world community developed a win-win solution. Tyrants could respond to a time-sensitive invitation and retire “standing up.” Requirements were relatively modest. Prospective residents would return fifty percent of their assets to their home nations and shelter the remainder until their deaths. In the unlikely event of murder, those assets would go to the GCRWL; no nation could profit from a capital crime. Residents then would pay a $100 million initiation fee (nonrefundable; villa included) and a $1 million monthly maintenance fee indexed to inflation. (The formula is complex.)

Residents may leave the island only in the unlikely event that the village’s state-of-the-art clinic and world-class visiting specialists cannot solve a medical problem. Yachts may sail anywhere within three miles of the island’s coastline. Armed vessels and aircraft escort them.

A number of tyrants have taken advantage of the island’s hospitality. In turn, war and terrorism have subsided measurably. At first the price for peace seems steep. Wealthy nations still underwrite shortfalls for expenses, including an anti-missile missile system, helicopter gunships and naval patrols above and below the sea. Yet net national-defense expenditures across the globe have decreased. The Isle of Tyrants appears to be the biggest bargain the world has ever known.

A second island is under construction.

Read the first two chapters of FLIGHT OF THE SPUMONIS here at You can get a signed copy from me or order a soft cover or e-book at

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  1. Martin Weiner on October 2, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Hi David,
    This is fascinating. Do we have any idea where the island is?
    Marty Weiner

    • David on October 2, 2015 at 11:37 pm

      Marty, it’s wherever warm sea breezes blow and our imaginations hover.

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